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July 27, 2016

Bright like a diamond

July 27, 2016

My heart seemed to stop and I got a pit in my stomach. I checked my finger again. Yep, there was the rough, poking prongs of my ring holding absolutely nothing. My diamond was gone. In that moment, diamonds were not this girl’s best friend – they were a source of major anxiety and despair. Somehow, the stone had fallen out of my ring.

I was at a party at a friend’s house years ago and was sure it was gone for good. After all, my husband has lost not one, but two wedding bands in the lakes of Michigan never to be seen again. Sure, I could get it replaced, but it wouldn’t be “that” diamond, the one I’d had since getting engaged many years ago.

Once she realized what happened, the hostess made everyone stop and drop to the floor to look for it. As I said, I was certain it was gone. While I was combing the floor of her dining room, the thought popped into my head. Maybe? Could it be? I was almost afraid to check for fear of disappointment. I remembered I had reached into the back pocket of my jeans earlier that evening. Tentatively, I reached in again, dug past the lint and voila! There it was – my diamond. Unique in the world, beautifully special and part of my history, I was very relieved to have it.

Tucked away in a laboratory on campus, Spartan engineers aren’t searching in the pockets of jeans for diamonds – they’re actually growing them. How cool is that? But they’re not using them for rings or other jewelry; they’re using them in leading-edge electronic, mechanical and thermal applications as part of a global industry partnership. Check out the video in the MSUToday FEATURE: Diamonds: An engineer’s best friend, to learn more about this fascinating research.

So much about research is like searching for that diamond in the rough. Every day Spartan scientists are hard at work, shining lights on problems and looking for that elusive solution that will change the world.

Federica Brandizzi is a professor of plant biology and the MSU Plants Leader for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. She’s dedicated her work to finding solutions to alternative energy and new biofuels technology. She might not be able to nurture houseplants very well, but she’s a rock star of research. Check out her FACULTY VOICE: Lack of green thumb no obstacle to learn more about her work.

Caitlin Farenger, an MSU kinesiology junior and martial arts champion, recently earned a different kind of jewelry in the form of medals at the World Karate and Kickboxing Nationals. She says, “"Karate is my escape from reality; it’s my stress reliever and my happy place. Doing it every week helps me to keep calm and focused for my classes.” Read the STUDENT VIEW: Translating sports discipline to academics to learn more about this shining student athlete.

This week, the Spartan nation is mourning the loss of one of its brightest student athletes, Mike Sadler, who was tragically killed in a car accident along with Nebraska punter Sam Foltz. Sadler was a true champion on the field and in the classroom. He was MSU’s only four-time Academic All-American and was headed to Stanford Law School. His humor and charm endeared him to fans all over the world and he made every second matter. He was that diamond in the rough whose light will be greatly missed.

It’s in a Spartan’s DNA to make every second matter – to strive for the best and change the world. Spartans don’t sit back and take it easy – they keep digging for solutions to big problems like alternative energy and better technology solutions.  So, shine on, Spartan nation. Polish up whatever skills you possess and be that diamond in the rough who makes a difference.

Spartans Will.


Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by G.L. Kohuth


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